Super cool gig coming up. I’m starting to get really excited. Long post.

Flat6Driver

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August 5th will be one of the coolest dates I’ve ever done. I’ve played on some big stages. Opened for some very famous acts and big names. Toured domestically and abroad. I’ve done just about everything you can do in this business except be rich and famous myself. Which as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized really worked out for the best.

But this is the big one.

Once upon a time there was a band called California Speedbag. It was formed by veterans of the 70’s Cle-punk scene. Members of The Kneecappers, Neptune’s Car, and Dr. Bloodmoney. Guys that were deep in the scene with bands like The Deadboys, St. Jayne, and The Easter Monkeys.

Speedbag was something new. Something nobody had ever seen before. It was a punk country band. Before there was a Jason and the Scorchers, or anything else in the genre, before the names “alt-country” or “cow punk” were even born, there was California Speedbag. Nobody knew what to do with them, because nobody had ever done it before. Rock clubs didn’t want them because they were too redneck. People in Country clubs literally threatened their lives after half a set. But they slowly built a regional following around north east Ohio, and even played some dates as far away as NYC. Labels didn’t want anything to do with them, as they defied any kind of classification at that time. But they made a couple records.

One of these, Little Guns, found it’s way to me all the way down in west Texas in 1992. Little Guns was released in 1990, on cassette only, when the band got tired of shopping for labels and being denied everywhere, and spent the last couple years of the 80’s DIY’ing their own recording, which really wasn’t a thing then.

I have no idea how the tape got to Texas. It was a dub. A Memorex cassette that just had “Speedbag” scrawled on it in magic marker. Some guy gave it to me after a gig, said he didn’t like it at all, but he thought I might get a kick out of it. I had a long drive home so I popped it in. I immediately fell in love with it. The songwriting was absolutely killer, and the music was like nothing I’d ever heard in my life. The closest thing I’d ever heard to people mixing country and rock was the whole SoCal Eagles/Byrds/Poco/Parsons scene, and while I have always loved that stuff, and always will, it suddenly seemed like elevator music. I had no idea stuff like this existed. Because really, it didn’t.

I

I love this story. The part about the dubbed cassette is so classic for people our age. Makes me think that must have been what it was like to pull in radio from behind the Iron Curtain.

It's all too easy now.

Great tale, have a good gig!
 

Peegoo

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Tony is a very old friend of the band. I guess I’ve known him quite a while too, now. He has a vintage RCA 77DX ribbon in his studio that used to belong to me. I sold it to him back in ‘07 or ‘08.
I've been following Ubu since the early 80s when I saw them play in Cleveland. RIVETING band!
 

4 Cat Slim

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One of the best stories I've ever read here, Jake!
I'm sure you and the rest of the band will be great, there seems to be so much energy in
the clips others have posted.
Seems like most towns that had any kind of music scene in the 1970s had a great local group that went away for whatever reason. It's great that most of these guys are still around and that people remember them.
 

Ron R

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I see others beat me to it, finding Youtube clips and posting. Cool stuff.
Reminds me of a similar band from Raleigh, the Backsliders. Similar timeline too.
 

Fenderdad1950

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Great story and best of luck, though I apologize for not being familiar with any of the bands mentioned. Sounds like a marvelous step up for you
 

drumtime

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I wish I could be there for that. I left CLE in 1969, and, while I still visit family, I've been out of touch with the scene there. I have met Clint, though - he and Bonnie are good friends of my sis and bro-in-law. I got to hang at his awesome studio in Bristol VA when it was just getting started. Have a blast!
 

RomanS

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What a great story, and I really dig the YouTube clips posted here, looking forward to the record.

Incidentally, as a teenage punk rock fan in the mid/late 80s, I really loved an album that by some strange coincidence had found it's way into a cut-out bin in a small town in Austria, made by The Pagans, who must have been from the same Cleveland scene. I really loved that album, their song "Boy Can I Dance Good" was one of the first songs I ever learned to play on bass...

Anyway, another favorite band of my teenage days were the Beat Farmers, and California Speedbag seem to be similar stuff, so - really looking forward to this!
 

johnny k

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What a great story, and I really dig the YouTube clips posted here, looking forward to the record.

Incidentally, as a teenage punk rock fan in the mid/late 80s, I really loved an album that by some strange coincidence had found it's way into a cut-out bin in a small town in Austria, made by The Pagans, who must have been from the same Cleveland scene. I really loved that album, their song "Boy Can I Dance Good" was one of the first songs I ever learned to play on bass...

Anyway, another favorite band of my teenage days were the Beat Farmers, and California Speedbag seem to be similar stuff, so - really looking forward to this!
 

bendercaster

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Great story -- looking forward to hearing about the gig.

I don't want to get too of topic, but man I miss coming across random cassettes in the pre internet age. I can remember on at least a few occasions a record store clerk slipping a random promo tape into my bag at checkout or finding one in the bed of my dad's pickup truck after coming out of a store. And when they were good, playing that tape to death and hoping that one day I'd find another record by the same band at the record store. My home town used to be a huge record store town when I was a kid. I worked and hung out at them for most of my teenage years. Now there are just a few small vinyl shops around locally.
 

Jakedog

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What a great story, and I really dig the YouTube clips posted here, looking forward to the record.

Incidentally, as a teenage punk rock fan in the mid/late 80s, I really loved an album that by some strange coincidence had found it's way into a cut-out bin in a small town in Austria, made by The Pagans, who must have been from the same Cleveland scene. I really loved that album, their song "Boy Can I Dance Good" was one of the first songs I ever learned to play on bass...

Anyway, another favorite band of my teenage days were the Beat Farmers, and California Speedbag seem to be similar stuff, so - really looking forward to this!
Oh man!! The Pagans! That’s a blast from the past! Definitely the same scene.
 




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